ART AMOK AFTERMATH: It was a long, busy week in the run up to last night's first Art Amok event from Word Diversity Collective. Not only the day job (we've been in production all week for our September edition), but doing last minute publicity for the show as well as making submissions of new poetry to mags and making a decision about my next book. More on that in a minute.

So, the first Art Amok was good, but not great. I was really, really pissed that our local alternative weekly paper didn't even bother to give us a calendar listing, much less an article. We all agreed this lack of coverage hurt attendance. Of course, there was a grassroots effort to send email blasts, hand out fliers and postcards, but that really reaches the poets who are already part of the circuit here in Atlanta. We wanted to expand that circle to reach a wider audience. We made a small inroad last night, but I'm hoping over the course of the season, that Art Amok will continue to grow and build into the premiere literary event in the city.

My guess is that we had around 50 to 60 people. I didn't have a chance to do a headcount because all of us were running around getting things done, but someone told me there was about 24 people in the backstage of 7 Stages for the reading of the play Lena, while we had at least 30 people on the mainstage for the open mic. While 50 or 60 people is spectacular for any poetry-driven event, I was hoping to break 100. That's just me shooting for the moon. I know we'll have that many and more as we go along.

If you didn't show up, shame on you. The open mic was a treat. Rupert Fike, Kodac Harrison, Bryan Pattillo and Katz of the Athens Boys Choir were all kicking some serious ass last night. The Lillie Lewis band in the cafe was doing some great jazz throughout the evening. Alice Lovelace had me rolling during the slam. She's hilarious as host. They even talked me into slamming and I came in fourth, which is better than I've done at any other slam. The three winners were Bryan (who was on the Java Monkey Slam Team, which, by the way, came in 35th out of 75 teams at the National Slam last weekend in Albuquerque), Theresa Davis and Malika.

We're going to have our post-mortem of the show next weekend to see what worked, what didn't and what we can do to make the shows run more smoothly. Publicity, publicity, publicity will be front and center on much of this. The next Art Amok show is set for Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 Stages with the theme, The Tangled Web We Weave. Be sure to visit for all the details, how to donate and how to get in contact with us to be part of the upcoming shows. my next book of poetry. I mentioned in an earlier post that the next collection is complete. I was planning on showing this around to a few trusted friends over the next few weeks to get suggestions on cuts, edits, sequence, etc. before starting the submission process. Earlier in the year, I was submitting a chapbook to various competitions and presses with the thoughts of that being the next step in publishing before another full collection. On Friday, I got an email from a small press that is indeed interested in publishing my chapbook. I can't go into details about who, what, when and where just yet, but I have met the editor and seen the beautiful work she does with chapbooks. I actually waffled back on forth on this Friday, but Cherryl, Tania and Cecilia all said I was crazy to even second guess it (and they are right). Cherryl's comment was "run, don't walk, to that contract."

More soon!


shamanic said…
For my part, I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed reading. I usually don't like performing, so I think it speaks well of the energy in the place. And it's always good to hang out with you. :-)
Collin said…
You did a great job, Sha! It's always fun to see you out at the events and I loved your poems. Rock on, sistafriend. :)
Cleo said…
Yeahh, it did feel just a little rough around the edges and getting up and running, but I think that's to be expected. The great thing about a series like this is that you can build from event to event. Plus I think you have to give it some time to find it's legs and credit for being fairly ambitious.
jenny said…
How exciting! A chapbook? I can't wait for the details!

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